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Here’s How Those Trophy Colorado Rainbows Get Their Start

Historic fish hatcheries like the one in Leadville, Colorado raise and stock rainbow trout to place in lakes and reservoirs giving these classic fish a great start in life.

The Leadville National Fish Hatchery raises rainbow trout, one of our favorite cold-water fish, in lakes and reservoirs around its home area.

Some of these fish can grow in size of one to five pounds in nearby streams, but the lake dwelling version can be as large as 20 pounds.

Here’s just one look at how Oncorhynchus mykiss gets its start in life.

Leadville National Fish Hatchery (NFH), established in 1889, is the second oldest federally operated fish hatchery in existence today and is now a part of the USFWS.

The hatchery occupies around 3,000 acres of land at an elevation of some 10,000 feet above sea level. Originally this famed hatchery stocked trout all over the Rocky Mountain region. The Black Hills region and parts of Wyoming where there were no native trout species were stocked for the first time from this hatchery system.

While some traditional folks would rather see money better spent on efforts to restore native lakes and streams to their original glory, the hatchery system keeps species like the rainbow trout a healthy and active part of western fishing.

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Here’s How Those Trophy Colorado Rainbows Get Their Start